Science team designs a new CAR they say may work much better than BCMAs in fighting multiple myeloma
Right now the big R&D play in the multiple myeloma field is centered around a raft of experimental BCMA approaches, including CAR-Ts. But a scientific team at the University of Utah says they may have found a better approach.
Focusing on the high rate of relapse using current therapies, as well as the waning efficacy of the clinical CAR-Ts, a team at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah built a new CAR focused on CD229.
That target, they say, goes after a molecule that endures through the course of the disease on the surface of cancer cells, including myeloma stem cells at the root of relapse.
“We were dismayed that although some of our patients respond quite well to currently available immunotherapies, they relapsed as early as one year after treatment,” says physician-scientist Djordje Atanackovic. “We thought if we could target every last cancer cell in a patient’s body, including the cancer stem cell, this could make the critical difference and yield more durable, deeper responses to treatment.”
The study was published in Nature Communications.
Working with a protein engineer, the team produced an antibody that could hook onto CD229, an essential part of their new CAR-T. And it checked out in preclinical animal and cell models — leaving plenty of work ahead in the clinic if this ever gets to the marketplace.